Clocks, Seasons & Faffing

As you all already know, the clocks go back an hour on Sunday morning, meaning that you get an extra hour in bed... supposedly.

SPN Clocks Change DaliQuickly, for our non-native, English speakers, “faffing around” means wasting time or ineffectual effort. It’s a politer version of “farting around,” or something worse…

Anyway… the promises of eliminating this complete nonsense that takes meridians into account but ignores latitudes, have resulted in nothing, as yet because again we have to change our clocks and watches.

Computer, iPads and mobiles change over automatically but your kitchen clock won’t, much less the one on the cooker or microwave.

Personally, I have been driving around since March with winter time on the car dashboard – it’s easier to make a quick mental calculation than dig out the instructions and change the bloody clock.

In Spain most people, it seems, prefer the summer-time hours because they mean lighter evenings, even in winter, but there is a problem. Besides already being out of synch with the sun (thanks to Franco ‘faffing around’ to gain favour with Hitler when he put us on the same time as Berlin) latitude is just as important as longitude.

This is because the closer you are to the equator the closer you are to a perpetual equinox; i.e. 12 hour days and 12 hour nights. So, on the Costa Tropical being on a permanent summer-time hour won’t make much difference sticking to GMT+2 but for somebody living in Santander, it won’t get light in the morning until around 10.00h in mid winter.

If you’re living in the north of Norway, faffing around with the clock one hour either way will not make a difference – there, it gets light half an hour before it starts to get dark, full stop.

In the forces, we had the solution to this in the communications world – Zulu Time! No matter where you were in the world, whether it was in Goose Bay in Canada, Cyprus, Germany or Hong Kong, Zulu Time was what we all used, in other words, GMT. The clock in the comcen (communications centre) could say 08.00h but outside the bunker it was probably 17.00h local time in the case of Kai Tak in Hong Kong.

But until the world sees sense and everybody uses Zulu-GMT, can we please stop faffing around with the bloody clock!

(News: Spain)

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